The Good and (Overwhelmingly) Bad News about Childhood Incarceration

Reading the recent news on the Indicted Texas Jailhouse Rapists/Prison Guards (dubbed “Perry’s Pedophiles” after the Texas Governor) found me checking on the status of Shaquanda Cotton to make sure she was not still in the custody of these patently corrupt thugs.

So the good news is that after years of complaints and flagrant abuse by the Texas Youth Commision (TYC), that the public was finally outraged enough to actually do something about these forgotten kids and thankfully Shaquanda is no longer under the dominion of these abusive rapists for her petty crimes.

The bad news is that more and more children at increasingly younger ages are running afoul of the law for even pettier misdeeds

And to be sure, schools are a bit tougher than when Sidney Poitier experienced his Blackboard Jungle.  Today’s schools can be tough places: difficult kids, even more difficult parents, violence, and mostly drugs and alcohol.  This blog from an ex-Paris resident examines an interesting, and more 3-dimensional perspective on the problems in Paris, TX.  It certainly served as a backdrop for the overreaction when it came time to punish Shaquanda. 

But Slate’s perspective on the story of an arrested kinder-gardener was wickedly perceptive and acid: “lets just hope this message get across to those brats in the neonatal wards.”  Which, if current trends continue, could be the next sweep conducted by the authorities looking for the next easy group of non-violent troublemakers to help fill prison space.


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